The new Strawberry Plaza Idyllwild Public Library, all 4,000 square feet of it, formally opened and was dedicated Tuesday, capping off years of work by many individuals.
Several hundred people — county officials, the library architect, the contractor, community members and especially the Friends of the Idyllwild Library — attended. 3rd District Supervisor Jeff Stone acknowledged in his dedicatory remarks, “The ones who led this effort were the Friends of the Library.”
The Friends have played a pivotal role from the late 1990s to the grand opening Tuesday, Oct. 23. With dedication and perseverance, they first championed expanding the former Library on Pine Crest.
When, after many falthering starts, a new glimmer of light came with the possibility of the county purchasing and remodeling the former Cornet building, expanding library floor space from the old library’s 1,000 square feet to 4,000.
Then the Friends worked with architects and Stone to ensure the building reflected Idyllwild and the community’s needs. As Friends President Adele Voell said after assurances from Stone that he’d get this done, “I told him I had 10 years more to live and wanted to see this in my lifetime. It took four. And you see what we’ve got — the library we wanted that is really going to work.”
Friends presented a check for $32,500 to Stone and the county to keep the library open six days a week for 40 hours. Voell noted there are not many libraries today that can keep those hours. Stone thanked the many who helped make this $2.5-million project possible then said, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your library.”
And as the ceremony concluded, Local Color sang right in the middle of the library, “Everybody Ought to Know What a Library Is.” Idyllwild Librarian Shannon Ng said that the first books had already been checked out during the grand opening.